Hansen & Gray

Volume 15, Issue 3, December 2018 - Special Issue: Efficient Instructional Strategies

Creating Boundaries Within the Ubiquitous Online Classroom

Bethanie L. Hansen, American Public University Systems
Elizabeth Gray, American Public University Systems


Managing one’s time and setting boundaries while teaching online are essential for continued job satisfaction and effective teaching. Online teaching offers attractive flexibility, but instructors report high teaching workloads, feeling isolated, high stress levels, and a poor work-life balance. By utilizing assumptions about online learners set out in andragogy theory, the practical application of the Community of Inquiry Framework, and considering work-life balance theories, the online instructor can effectively set boundaries that support their own work and simultaneously focus on students’ success. We propose that instructors can define their work and set boundaries on the online classroom by prioritizing engagement, developing assets to help students guide themselves, managing time, and using efficiency strategies. In this practitioner-focused article, we identify common barriers to effective time and task management in online education and, based on both research and practice, we provide additional tips, tools, and strategies for preparing online courses, teaching them, and grading student assignments—all intended to assist online educators in their pursuit of work-life balance.


online education, boundaries, work-life balance

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